Calling all yogis! Gone are the days where you can feel guilty about not exercising as “intensely” as your cardio-obsessed neighbor.
Yoga has been around for thousands of years overseas, but has more recently been taken up in the United States as a means of holistic health. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit language, meaning “union”, which signifies the joining of the mind and the body. The practice of yoga is important for strength, endurance, and flexibility, all while promoting a stable and peaceful state of well-being. Biologically, yoga works to combat the body’s natural stress response, triggered by the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Complex.
Just because yoga is used to relax the body and get in touch with the mind, does not mean that it is not a workout! Yoga combines muscular activity with mental focus, a combination found in arguably the toughest sports. In relation to the physical body, yoga is good for cardio, increasing flexibility, strengthening and toning muscles, and weight reduction — all features of any “well respected” exercise regimen. Yoga is actually a form of strength training since one supports the body in positions and orientations that require use of multiple muscle groups. Unlike lifting weights, however, yoga targets a wider range of muscles, from small to large, that move in all directions, such as twisting, turning, and arching, instead of isolating few muscle groups with repetitive movements.
“The Benefits of Yoga.” American Osteopathic Association.
Turner, Kelly. “Can Yoga Replace Strength Training?” Gaiam.
Woodyard, Catherine. “Exploring the Therapeutic Effects of Yoga and Its Ability to Increase Quality of Life.” International Journal of Yoga 4.2 (2011): 49–54. PMC. Web. 20 Oct. 2017.